Thoughts About Lancaster

Thoughts About Lancaster – by David Wright

The night’s busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere
We’ve got one last chance to make it real, to trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in the back, heaven’s waiting on down the tracks.

This short essay begins as it means to go on, with the premise that “Thunder Road” represents the very zenith of human musical achievement. Feel free to read on whether or not you’re fortunate enough to have come to terms with this stark, clear reality, or if you’re still trawling the musical backwaters in search of your own private dream records.

You can’t trawl a backwater, I guess, but when it comes to mixing fishing metaphors, I’m a shark with a brand new tackle box.

It’s barely possible to walk down Penny Street, enter the library/museum/Starbuck’s or log into facebook without it being asserted, re-asserted and subsequently confirmed by someone that Lancaster is a veritable sturgeon of raw talent, swollen to bursting point, stuffed to the gills (I’ll stop now) with incredible artists, songwriters, dancers and actors.

If I had a bowl of kedgeree for every time I’d heard…

There’s something magical about this place… It’s just unbelieveable how much great talent there is in this tiny town…

… well, I would essentially have too much kedgeree. It doesn’t keep, you know.

That’s the end of the fish references now, guys. Really. You get the idea, though, right? The town is just normal. It’s got a normal number of buildings with a normal number of people in them with a reasonable distribution of guitars, pianos, drumkits, violins, paint brushes and yoga mats. Actually, maybe more yoga mats than normal. Of those people, some do their art in a way that is pleasing/powerful/moving/credible and the overwhelming majority don’t.

Now, I’m not here to be a joyless trout about it. I love this place. I have the privilege and pleasure of regularly interacting with a good number of people who have powerfully enriched the flavour of the delicious anchovy dip that is my musical life.

This is not a romance, though. If we think Lancaster itself is what’s causing this, we’re basically abandoning mathematics. What’s causing it is that people like making music/drawing pictures/weaving baskets/dancing and they like doing it in the vicinity of other real people and forming clubs, societies, bands and support groups to make their hobby more likely to be fruitful. This happens everywhere.

Yet so often we gaze at the “Lancaster scene” like a shoal of teenagers who have fallen in love for the first time. Like a stickleback waiting to grow into a blue whale.

I know what you’re thinking…

“What’s the point, Wright, you curmudgeonly old twat?”

Well, Lancaster, I’m here to tell you my point, so draw up a chair.

The almighty fucking legend Bruce Sprinsteen sings so sweetly in his actually perfect anthem “Thunder Road”…

Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night
You ain’t a beauty, but hey, you’re alright.

I step out most evenings armed with a rock hard plectrum and a small notebook of chord/lyric reminders. More often than not they’ll get used in some open mic or afterpub wine drinking error.

I’m easy.

I just love the town. I love people singing. I love it when someone’s written (or just loves!) a song and wants you to hear it even if it is a bag of shit. Because a heartfelt song is someone being there.

I see so many different people, and all too often I’m aware that they have never met each other. It seems so sad to me. Such lovely people. Such a great hobby. Such a reason to have hope. Show a little faith. After all, there’s magic in the night, right, boss?

I have endlessly deliberated. How come the guys who bang out the solo (note perfect) from Hotel California every Tuesday at the Golden Lion don’t know the guys who sing their own songs at the Yorkie or the Storey? They’d get on so well. Especially in a community that so often bemoans limited audiences and insufficient networking opportunities.

Of course, we know the answer.

If we’re going to set up events that showcase the latest great talent, if we’re going to write critical reviews, if we’re going to set up little labels and function as each other’s PR companies with helpful photography sessions, friendly write ups, etc… in short become a likefor-like microcosm of the systems that we percieve as damaging when writ large… we draw a line.

A line that, sadly, I will see one side of on a Tuesday and the other on a Friday.

Such lovely people living so close to each other with so much in common separated merely by desired outcomes.

Open mics devoid of great songwriters because they’re at the Storey on Friday and on Diversity on Saturday afternoon so they don’t really want to do all of it anymore. Bands putting in conservative, solid performances because there’s a fair chance of them getting reviewed.

Of course, it’s many artists’ desire to move on at some point… to leave the amateur scene in favour of the professional environments, but what are we doing professionalising the proving grounds? People are being selected to play at showcase shows, reviewed on the internet, talked about on the radio before they’ve played in public twice and after getting a demo together one Sunday afternoon at a mate’s house.

There were no fewer than ten “album launches” this summer in Lancaster, mostly of this kind. They were generally put on and promoted in a professional manner, the papers were told, facebook was alive. The events were publically reviewed and the CDs pored over and analysed.

We are collectively holding this stuff up and saying “hey, guys, look at Lancaster, it’s amazing! Check out our raw awesome talent.”

It’s not amazing though, is it? It’s great that we’re doing it and helping each other. It’s great that we’re singing and dancing and drinking and networking and recording and taking pictures and playing at being great artists. But honestly, if we hold it all up saying “this is Lancaster, world, come and tap into our incredible depths of magnificent art” the world will look back and say “dudes, this is happening everywhere. You’re just people making records. Hold up your geniuses and we’ll pay attention.”

Of course, there have been some excellent artists in this town over time. If only there was a fish based metaphor I could use to describe the phenomenon of a big artist in a small town.

I wonder if they finally got to grips with the Boss’s most perfect gift…

We’ve got one last chance to make it real, to trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in the back, heaven’s waiting on down the tracks.

=============================

David Wright is a local songwriter and member of the group New Zealand Story.

Their album Show Your Workings is available for listening and download here:

http://newzealandstory.bandcamp.com/

It’s awesome and you should buy it if you like it, as that’s what keeps the band going.

55 Responses

  1. Interesting hand-grenade you tossed into the room David.
    I like your panache🙂
    I have interjected some of my own thoughts into your text because I felt i wanted to respond point to point.
    My points are squeezed in after a ===========>
    Forgive me for re-pasting your text. It just makes my points easier to follow.
    I’d be interested in your response to my take on it.
    Peace and Music
    Stuart

    The night’s busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere
    We’ve got one last chance to make it real, to trade in these wings on some wheels
    Climb in the back, heaven’s waiting on down the tracks.
    This short essay begins as it means to go on, with the premise that “Thunder Road” represents the very zenith of human musical achievement. Feel free to read on whether or not you’re fortunate enough to have come to terms with this stark, clear reality, or if you’re still trawling the musical backwaters in search of your own private dream records.

    ========== We all have lyrics which speak to us of our desires and dreams. These are plainly yours. They aren’t mine, but I dig the fact you share them.

    You can’t trawl a backwater, I guess, but when it comes to mixing fishing metaphors, I’m a shark with a brand new tackle box.
    It’s barely possible to walk down Penny Street, enter the library/museum/Starbuck’s or log into facebook without it being asserted, re-asserted and subsequently confirmed by someone that Lancaster is a veritable sturgeon of raw talent, swollen to bursting point, stuffed to the gills (I’ll stop now) with incredible artists, songwriters, dancers and actors.

    ================Incredible? Maybe. Subjective? Perhaps.

    If I had a bowl of kedgeree for every time I’d heard…
    There’s something magical about this place… It’s just unbelieveable how much great talent there is in this tiny town…
    … well, I would essentially have too much kedgeree. It doesn’t keep, you know.

    ===============We are nothing special. We are unique. Being unique is nothing special. Take a look around.

    That’s the end of the fish references now, guys. Really. You get the idea, though, right? The town is just normal. It’s got a normal number of buildings with a normal number of people in them with a reasonable distribution of guitars, pianos, drumkits, violins, paint brushes and yoga mats. Actually, maybe more yoga mats than normal. Of those people, some do their art in a way that is pleasing/powerful/moving/credible and the overwhelming majority don’t.

    ============== Like you I have opinions about what art in Lancaster floats my boat, or has artistic merit, but so shall it always be.

    Now, I’m not here to be a joyless trout about it. I love this place. I have the privilege and pleasure of regularly interacting with a good number of people who have powerfully enriched the flavour of the delicious anchovy dip that is my musical life.
    This is not a romance, though. If we think Lancaster itself is what’s causing this, we’re basically abandoning mathematics. What’s causing it is that people like making music/drawing pictures/weaving baskets/dancing and they like doing it in the vicinity of other real people and forming clubs, societies, bands and support groups to make their hobby more likely to be fruitful. This happens everywhere.

    =====================Many have analyzed why Liverpool created an explosion of sound that spread across the world and the popular conclusion was that it was because it was a port and the world came to it and that disseminated raw American music straight into a population that would not have heard it otherwise. It was Liverpool itself that facilitated this music surge. Now the question is, does Lancaster have a similar dynamic? I’m not sure. The University is a source of variety for this town. How many of the muso’s in this town are Lancaster born and bred? IS the jury out on your point here?

    Yet so often we gaze at the “Lancaster scene” like a shoal of teenagers who have fallen in love for the first time. Like a stickleback waiting to grow into a blue whale.

    =====================It’s like home baked cookies! If done right, they seem to taste better than the big, shiny supermarket ones.

    I know what you’re thinking…
    “What’s the point, Wright, you curmudgeonly old twat?”
    Well, Lancaster, I’m here to tell you my point, so draw up a chair.
    The almighty fucking legend Bruce Sprinsteen sings so sweetly in his actually perfect anthem “Thunder Road”…
    Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night
    You ain’t a beauty, but hey, you’re alright.
    I step out most evenings armed with a rock hard plectrum and a small notebook of chord/lyric reminders. More often than not they’ll get used in some open mic or after-pub wine drinking error.
    I’m easy.
    I just love the town. I love people singing. I love it when someone’s written (or just loves!) a song and wants you to hear it even if it is a bag of shit. Because a heartfelt song is someone being there.
    I see so many different people, and all too often I’m aware that they have never met each other. It seems so sad to me. Such lovely people. Such a great hobby. Such a reason to have hope. Show a little faith. After all, there’s magic in the night, right, boss?
    I have endlessly deliberated. How come the guys who bang out the solo (note perfect) from Hotel California every Tuesday at the Golden Lion don’t know the guys who sing their own songs at the Yorkie or the Storey? They’d get on so well. Especially in a community that so often bemoans limited audiences and insufficient networking opportunities.
    Of course, we know the answer.
    If we’re going to set up events that showcase the latest great talent, if we’re going to write critical reviews, if we’re going to set up little labels and function as each other’s PR companies with helpful photography sessions, friendly write ups, etc… in short become a like-for-like microcosm of the systems that we percieve as damaging when writ large… we draw a line.
    ================Are you an extreme homogenist?

    A line that, sadly, I will see one side of on a Tuesday and the other on a Friday.
    Such lovely people living so close to each other with so much in common separated merely by desired outcomes.
    =============Birds of a feather, flock together. Old, old habits….sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for bad. I don’t see why everyone has to talk to everyone.

    Open mics devoid of great songwriters because they’re at the Storey on Friday and on Diversity on Saturday afternoon so they don’t really want to do all of it anymore. Bands putting in conservative, solid performances because there’s a fair chance of them getting reviewed.

    ===================Here’s a point that a one time regular at Open Mics made to me. He said “Why should people pay to see me when I play for free at an open mic”?

    Of course, it’s many artists’ desire to move on at some point… to leave the amateur scene in favour of the professional environments, but what are we doing professionalising the proving grounds? People are being selected to play at showcase shows, reviewed on the internet, talked about on the radio before they’ve played in public twice and after getting a demo together one Sunday afternoon at a mate’s house.

    ======================Tricky. Who’s to say who’s at what musical level or stage of development. Who decides what the proving ground actually is? You?

    There were no fewer than ten “album launches” this summer in Lancaster, mostly of this kind. They were generally put on and promoted in a professional manner, the papers were told, facebook was alive. The events were publically reviewed and the CDs pored over and analysed.
    We are collectively holding this stuff up and saying “hey, guys, look at Lancaster, it’s amazing! Check out our raw awesome talent.”
    It’s not amazing though, is it? It’s great that we’re doing it and helping each other. It’s great that we’re singing and dancing and drinking and networking and recording and taking pictures and playing at being great artists. But honestly, if we hold it all up saying “this is Lancaster, world, come and tap into our incredible depths of magnificent art” the world will look back and say “dudes, this is happening everywhere. You’re just people making records. Hold up your geniuses and we’ll pay attention.”
    ===========================True, but I refer the honourable gentleman to the comments I made earlier-“We are nothing special. We are unique. Being unique is nothing special. Take a look around”

    Of course, there have been some excellent artists in this town over time. If only there was a fish based metaphor I could use to describe the phenomenon of a big artist in a small town.

    ==========================Define “big artist”.

    I wonder if they finally got to grips with the Boss’s most perfect gift…

    =========================Never liked Springsteen. He never spoke to or for me. I appreciate and respect the fact he does the opposite for you.

    Nick Drake put it well for me:
    “And now you know my name
    But I don’t feel the same
    But I ain’t gonna blame
    The rider on the wheel.

    You know my song is new
    You know it’s new for you
    I tell you how it’s true
    For the rider on the wheel.

    And round and round we go
    We take it fast and slow
    I must keep up a show
    For the rider on the wheel
    For the rider on the wheel.

    And now you know my name
    But I don’t feel the same
    But I ain’t gonna blame
    The rider on the wheel
    The rider on the wheel.”

    • Hi Stuart!

      > Interesting hand-grenade you tossed into the room David.
      > I like your panache🙂

      Thanks. I enjoyed your reply…

      >>> We all have lyrics which speak to us of our desires and dreams. These are plainly yours. They aren’t mine, but I dig the fact you share them.

      Yeah, the boss just totally does it for me lyrically. It’s so colossally easy to act/feel/be an outsider in music when/because people don’t “get” what you’re doing. He’s made a sterling job of being comprehensively understood and loved by real people everywhere. I like that kind of togetherness in art, even if it’s not profound.

      >>> We are nothing special. We are unique. Being unique is nothing special. Take a look around.

      I concur.

      >>> It’s like home baked cookies! If done right, they seem to taste better than the big, shiny supermarket ones.

      Hee hee. Yes, I see this. I think it’s fair enough too. Everyone seems to think their kids are above average intelligence too. They’re not, though. I guess I’m just saying the equivalent of that here, I guess.

      >>> Are you an extreme homogenist?

      No. I just think that a level playing field is a good thing. The crippling snobbery with which the alt “scene” views the regular guys enjoying some Eagles covers makes me massively favour the Golden Lion/Stonewell/Penny Bank type pub covers band gigs, even if the posters do have wordart and comic sans in them and I have to suffer Mustang fucking Sally once in a while.

      I think the homogeny really begins, ironically, with the fact that everyone seems to need to use acoustic guitars and violins, wear wooly jumpers, have their pictures taken by a decent photographer in a natural environment, such as a wood, and then hand draw the album sleeve with crayons. Grow your hair and/or unusual beard config, give the whole thing a totally abstract name and you’ve got a Lancaster band.

      Don’t get me wrong, by the way, I love some of the bands that tick all the above boxes, and fully respect a few more than that, but crikey, Stuart, if you’re talking to me about homogeny, it’s the other side of this fence where it features most. In a field, having its picture taken for its psychedelic myspace.

      >>> Birds of a feather, flock together. Old, old habits….sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for bad. I don’t see why everyone has to talk to everyone.

      Well, no, but they don’t have to avoid each other either. Seriously, there’d be nothing wrong with a good number of the local songwriter types learning some honest to goodness technique once in a while. I know it’s chronically unfashionable right now not to strum a guitar like one is sawing wood and fingerpick like a wind up music box, but there’s a number of reasons John Martyn and Paul Simon are/were high up the folk songwriter tree, and being very good at playing is/was one of them. This is something that’s well and truly respected and nurtured by the pie and mash types at the open mics and apparently an anathema to way too many Lancaster songwriters. Oh, Jesus, did I just turn 55?

      >>> Here’s a point that a one time regular at Open Mics made to me. He said “Why should people pay to see me when I play for free at an open mic”?

      Fair enough. I like rolling my sleeves up and being directly involved in the development of some musicians by contributing to the meaningful social phenomenon that is the Open Mic. Alright, I’m a piano teacher, so it does directly lead to business, but it’s also something that feels like it makes a difference to me. Far more than the times I’ve had my band pour their rock and roll everything into a roomful of troubled souls wrestling with their existential angst with a pint of Bomber before popping out for a hand rolled amber leaf cigarette, over which they’ll no doubt discuss which of Eliot Smith’s bass players’ had the nicest sweaters.

      >>> Tricky. Who’s to say who’s at what musical level or stage of development. Who decides what the proving ground actually is? You?

      I’m just saying there basically *is* no proving ground at all. You can’t get a guitar out at a house party these days without inadvertantly courting 2 pages in the Guardian and a headline slot at some event or other having earned the tag “kooky, whimsical indie, a must see!”

      >>> True, but I refer the honourable gentleman to the comments I made earlier-“We are nothing special. We are unique. Being unique is nothing special. Take a look around”

      Again, I concur. I don’t mind that the place is average. I like it! That’s why I’m so bemused at this perpetual (re)creation of an apparent elite of “Lancaster Talent” that seems to amount to some people who *don’t just play covers*. It’s hardly the renaissance is it?

      >>>Define “big artist”.

      Pedantry! I might use as an example the delightful Miss Jo Gillot. I can’t imagine we’ll hang on to Stephen Hudson for too long either. I don’t mean “big” as in financially successful or even especially renowned. I think I specifically mean that when you find yourself headlining Lancaster’s biggest gigs and you’re sharing the bill with an 11 year old dog handler and a housewives acapella group, there’s not much left to do here.

      >>> Never liked Springsteen. He never spoke to or for me. I appreciate and respect the fact he does the opposite for you.

      Heh, I feel much the same about this Nick Drake chap you hold in such high regard. I’m very glad you have music that pushes your buttons so comprehensively. So many don’t.

      As you say, peace and music. Hope to see you soon.🙂

      DJW

      • Please ignore about four of the times when I said “I guess” in the above post. Especially one of the TWO THAT FEATURED IN THE SAME SENTENCE!

        I’ll never get GCSE English like that, will I?

      • Whatever, i could care less for X Factor, Britain’s got Talent and shows of that nature. Fair do’s if people want to watch that stuff. I choose to ignore it as it does nothing for me. I don’t look down my nose at people who wanna enjoy it, I accept that as an avid music lover (albeit of an underground one) that I’m probably not the kind of person that the show is aimed towards. I take my music seriously and do not ‘see music as wallpaper or something to sing along to in the bath on a Sunday evening.’ Does this make me an elitist indie snob?

        I think these shows have their place. I don’t think their pretending to be anything else than mere entertainment. Simon Cowell has made the intentions of the show quite clear. I don’t particulary like him or his views but I respect the fact that he clearly is an intelligent man who has come up with a formula (albeit not a very interesting one) that works and has made him Very rich and famous. I think getting angry about talent shows is a little silly I just ignore them.

  2. TOWN? Master Wright has obviously never seen our civic charter.

  3. Thanks David,

    Nice Work. Keep ’em coming…

  4. interesting article if a bit confusing overall, just thought i’d question the idea that all it takes is a funny beard and a hand drawn cover to make a “lancaster band” considering the whole “psychedelic folk” thing is a worldwide scene

    all over the country/wider world there is a rash of bearded bands with extended lineups that play droney improvisational folkish tunes

    however it must be said that dan haywoods new hawks really are one of the very best i’ve heard

  5. Aye. Just be aware that when I said..
    -“We are nothing special. We are unique. Being unique is nothing special. Take a look around”
    I mean that I think Lancaster is a slight paradox. We are a microcosm of how the music scene at large develops. Some of the artists from here that you rate highly, bore me to death, but they have their take on the world and I love the fact that the variety exists and I think that a mix is good and healthy.
    I got national press for my album and I’ve been mixed, mastered and ruminated on by top flight producers, major labels and industry stalwarts which I am still in talks with. No industry types come here. If you want to leave the Lancaster ladder you have get a reputation away from here. In this context, perhaps the whole Lancaster “scene”(oh how I hate that word) is a proving ground, for them with dreams to dream.
    I’m glad Lancaster has some good venues but the idea of playing only them over and over until I’m dead doesn’t fill me with pleasure.
    Hmmm long, hair, slight beard, painted album cover. Ha ha. No apologies Mr Wright. I’m not seeking approval from you. Intelligent, quality debate will do…

  6. I think a mix is good and healthy. I don’t actually think we have one.

    Nobody should really seek my approval. My artist of the week is Avril Lavigne.

    I do love stoner hippy folk prog music, by the way. I just think of it as a single rich branch of a big musical tree. In Lancaster, however, there’s basically *only* that kind of music until you step over the very clearly defined line and BOOM! some guy’s playing Wonderwall and Hey Joe.

    We seem to have ONE lasting pop band (Hows my pop) and they seem to have turned pretty stoner/proggy in this climate (album review to follow, I think. It’s an excellent record out of context).

    My concern, I guess, is partly accessibility. I understand that it’s good to have music that’s hard to comprehend at first and which has to grow and uncover in levels over years of listening… I just don’t really see why that’s inherently more valuable than a straightforward love song that everyone understands immediately, and can sing along to.

    I agree about “scene”. Retarded word. However, people are using it, so I’ll use it to mean what they seem to mean…

    Lancaster’s scene’s constant, unyielding desire to get more and more abstract, intertexual, inaccessible and just plain hard work to listen to and understand is, in my view, driving a wedge between the smart arsed intellectual muso and the regular guy.

    Okay, so the smart kids don’t want a new Boss, Billy Joel or even Paul Simon. Happy go lucky chaps with rad tunes that people love. They’d like a new martyr, I guess. Someone to go woefully misunderstood until their untimely, miserable death Buckley/Barrett/Drake/Smith style.

    Seems a shame for a whole town’s creative musicians to have such miserable heroes.

  7. i just listened to new zealand story and lo and behold its poppy and accessible, nothing wrong with that but kind of means that this whole rant might be more about david wright and how he fits into the wider music scene than about raising any genuine objective points, hence why it seemed confusing at first?

  8. An artist should become what they feel their muse leads them to, not what people expect. Besides Buckley/Barrett/Drake/Smith became very well understood long after their deaths precisely becuase the public was late in coming to their genius Nicks big label mate and contemporary was Cat Stevens who was all over teh media like a rash the same time Nick wasn’t even on the radar. It’s all very different now. Buckley himself struggled with crowd pleasing and following the music where it lead him and produced a canon full of variety as a result. I myself have been through several musical phases in my life and hope to continue to do so. My cuurent big listens are The Monkees and Carole King. God knows where thats gonna lead me🙂
    Its far to easy to dismiss Buckley/Barrett/Drake/Smith types as “miserable”, its probably far to easy to dismiss Springsteen as “lowest common denomiator rawk for desperate Americans”.
    Follow your muse and make music, and who gives a fuck what everyone else might write. That’s surely the TRUE manifesto of a true musician.

  9. Some interesting points raised here.

    I understand where David is coming from. Personally I’m more inclined to the underground. Whether it be stoner/noise/hardcore-punk/free jazz whatever. Not liking that to feel superior to anyone but because I genuinely love the stuff and have done for over 10 years or so.

    On the other hand I’m a big power-pop fan and hence love stuff like 10CC, ELO, The Knack, and Badfinger. I guess in that respect I like to consider myself as balanced. Heh. I think there is room to like both kinds of music. Same applies locally too. I think there are some artists in Lancaster who do feel under pressure to conform to ‘non-conformist’ music. Which is a shame. Its’ actually one of the reasons why I don’t always feel like going to gigs, because I feel somewhat out the loop because everyone at these events seem to know each other and hence somewhat suspicious of outsiders.

    At the end of the day if people are making the music they want to make then that’s fine. Its’ all about going with your gut and not just with what you think people will want to hear.

  10. Sorry Dave you’re wrong from the start: Thunder Road is not THE zenith of popular music it is ONE of many that includes Teenage Kicks, Like a Rolling Stone, WFL, Bring the Noise, Dolphins, McCarthur Park, Unsatisfied, Mood Indigo, Pink Moon, Crazy and more. And Lancaster may have its share of beardy folks (Moll, Jo, Jess, etc. ) but it also has Joyeux, Adventures of Loki, Dose, Wonderlust, She Never Sleeps, Uncle Jeff, Weekend Freedom Machine, and of course the band that are actually getting gigs out of the area, The Lovely Eggs.

  11. If I want a ‘note perfect’ solo from Hotel California I’ll listen to The Eagles not some second-hand xerox in a pub. That’s the problem I have with cover bands, with X Factor etc. Simon Cowell notoriously said he wouldn’t want 10 Bob Dylans on X Factor, well surprise nor would I, but I’d quite like one, and an Aretha, a Strummer, a Sly Stone, a Led Zep, a Stone Roses and a Will Young, but what Cowell and his cronies want is identikit karaoke banality. That’s why they are not worth my time. I saw a rock cover band recently whose singer even introduced songs with the same lines used by the original on the live album. Where’s the interest in that?
    On the other hand I saw you cover songs recently and make them sound like part of your own oeuvre, taking great songs and adding something, a personal twist, and I loved it.
    The fact is that Lancaster HAS got a lot of both types of act, a lot of talent. From what I’m told it has far more creative life than Preston or Carlisle so we should shout that fact loud, and if we get told so what, then so what. Some fell on stony ground, but some…
    — Kev

  12. Where can I next catch the eleven year old dog handler!?

  13. Don’t bother, Harry. I checked. It’s the handler of an 11 year old dog.

  14. David you menace….I hate Paul Simon but❤ most of The Boss

  15. whoa, the 11 year old dog is dead, its been replaced by another borderline decrepit soul though.

    I have a beard
    I have a wooly jumper
    I have a variety of hats
    I play in alt/psych folk bands
    Its got an extended 10+membership
    I play banjo, guitar , zither
    I use loop pedels
    I sing on songs about existential mysteries
    I live in Lancaster
    I run an open mic
    I run alt/folk gigs (feat. acapella houswives AND Jo Gillot)
    I have been photographed in the outdoors/wooded setting
    I am good friends with Dave Wright(author of this article) and could listen to (and have several times) his rants until the wee hours

    This is obviously directed at me, and people doing what I do. Unfortunately I like Dave and his special brand of genius too much to get angry, plus I know there’s a level of magnanimity in his soul that means he digs this shit but to pissed at other stuff to admit it…

    I do unfortunately think recent ventures in Lancaster may be being devisive. If one group is artificially elevated through exposure in multi-arts gigs and photoshoots, getting press and local attention then of course, others look on with suspicion. I don’t really have an answer for this apart from , well, create your own local infrastructure to do the same if you can be arsed. Sad fact is, its all a silly game, its about having a laugh, and not spending too much time indoors, hiding from the world.

    Hey ho.
    p.s
    Lancaster sonwriters night, Gregson Open Mic, this sunday 27th, 8pm-11pm

    • I said I like it! Your band is rad.

      I like psychedelic/existential musing music in general, too. A bit.

      I just wish it wasn’t ubiquitous. I think that alienates a whole host of real people who like songs about chicks and good times.

      It’s as if you can’t do art in this town if you’re not an oddball.

      This is very similar to the problems we were having when identifying the aims of The Ledge. It’s all well and good setting up a reviews website, promoting gigs and other related promotional/awareness raising things… I just think it’s a bit disingenuous to pretend it’s all about music and the arts *in general* when in fact the Lunecy Review, Totally Wired, etc are not about ther arts in general. They’re about the arts that the people involved are personally interested in, and that’s the *alternative* stuff.

      Still, that’s fine, of course… it’s better that something’s happening than nothing and these things plainly benefit everyone involved.

      What gets my goat is that there’s a clear level of snobbery to it. It’s taken completely as read that The X Factor, Coronation Street, Girls Aloud, Coldplay and Richard Curtis films are some kind of benchmark of mediocrity and offensive banality against which “good art” is measured. Essentially the *less* like what normal people like, the better the art is, in principle and the more likely it is to be raised up, smiled at, photographed and written about.

      It’s ever likely it’s hard to pack a room, sell records or populate a website with that kind of attitude, young man. Deliberately being into stuff because most people don’t like it or understand it is behaviour I’d not expect from an increasingly cliquey crowd of grown men.😉

      • David, I have already offered a reasoned and non-snobbish explanation for why X Factor fails for me, and that is that it explicitly aims to reproduce a formula rather than allowing for individual creativity. The X Factor’s run of however many thousand songs over its series has included exactly ZERO original compositions. Every song ever performed on it has been a cover, almost all of them in the manner of a close copy of the original. It stifles rather than promotes, and if you really think that’s a good thing you’re a fool. If you think this is snobbery explain why rather than ranting pompously.
        Perhaps you’d also care to adress my earlier point about the many, many non-folky acts in town, bands you’d be aware of if you ever went to gigs to support the scenes (note plural). How do they fit your argument?
        As for the inclusivity of TLR, well, if you want to submit a review go ahead, make our day. I have tried hard to cover all the original art events in the area, spent a lot of money on entry to some wonderful and some less than wonderful shows, and attempted to recruit more qualified reviewers for other events. TLR has covered what our reviewers are interested in, but at no point has it prevented other areas being covered. It doesn’t cover Coldplay or Girls Aloud (the latter being incredibly good at what they do, though its not my preferred style) because they aren’t from Lancaster, but if a local band were doing that sort of thing it would be great to hear about it and cover it.

        And here’s a thought: most people don’t actively go looking for new music, they find it via Radio One etc. So here’s what happens: You can only like something (and hence buy it) if you know it exists (that must be obvious. Radio mostly only plays what is chart oriented. So people only know what Radio plays, only buy what they know, radio only plays what people buy, do you see the feedback loop here?
        This is not a criticism of people’s tastes here, but of the Radio playlist/Chart structure. You surely know that there are a great number of people out there who would love New Zealand Story or Jess Thomas or The Lovely Eggs or Ottersgear if they heard it played on The Bay. That they never hear it doesn’t mean their taste is inferior to mine who got lucky and heard them in The Yorkie. That I think these artists are far more interesting than many that do get airplay is not snobbery, because I believe that given an equal chance a significant proportion of the public might choose Jess Thomas over Joss Stone, NZS over Coldplay or at least alongside them. And that is why exalting the local scene matters so much, to try to get people like you that equal chance. After that it’s down to you…
        Kev McVeigh

  16. “if you really think that’s a good thing you’re a fool.”

    I do think it’s a good thing, though.

    It seems, then, that you think I’m a fool for having a contrary position, which I believe is a good working definition of snobbery when it comes to prefences about what art to enjoy.

    I’m not asking anyone to stop enjoying a particular genre or approach to music or calling them fools for their tastes. I wouldn’t call a person a fool if they just listened to “The Laughing Policeman” all day long.

    Why? Because I’m not a card carrying indier-than-thou cultural snob.

    The X Factor is a bit of fun. Like karaoke and singstar writ large. It’s something millions and milions of fools enjoy every weekend, myself included.

    Some might say we should stop enjoying that fun thing we share together every weekend and start digging through the internet for rare Neutral Milk Hotel B-sides, but, really, it’s unclear what the actual reasoning is behind the position that one hobby is less valuable than the other.

  17. So do you believe that those X Factor fans would not enjoy the show just as much if some (even just one a week) of those performers actually sang a song they had written themselves, or arranged in a manner that suited their style rather than being forced to sing a song chosen by a former muppet handler?
    Do you think that new songs should not have the same opportunity as old ones had? And that singers should have the chance to show off their talents in their way? Last series of X Factor there was a young woman with a huge belting soul-gospel type of voice, who struggled when she was forced to do a Take That cover (or similar). Is that fair on her? Or on the listeners denied the chance to hear her do what she is good at? Imagine Paul Simon being made to play like Jimi Hendrix, Springsteen told to just do Beatles covers.
    Instead of spouting bollocks about snobbery, try answering these questions. You write some very enjoyable songs in a Billy Joel-ish vein (if I can use a lazy shorthand description for a moment), now honestly imagine that when you play a gig you are forced to repeatedly mimic Ottersgear or Harvey Lord and your ebullient personality is subsumed into a weak impersonation. Honestly, would that inspire you or depress you?

  18. If it was part of what is essentially a game show, in which I knew what was coming in advance and which would be fun for me to participate in, of course it wouldn’t depress me. No.

    Also, I don’t think it depresses any of the participants or the majority of it’s viewers.

    Mine is not a strange or isolated view, Kevin. Most people like things that are enormously popular and formulaic. It gives the regular guy/girl something to talk about and share in.

    I think those of us who make music, write about it, or just plain enthuse about it can easily forget that most people see music as wallpaper or something to sing along to in the bath on a Sunday evening.

    I heartily endorse anything that encourages people to divert their attention to singers, the magnificence of popular songs and the overall business of good pop performance. I see X-Factor as just such a thing.

  19. David, maybe you should go back and read what i wrote. I am not criticising the fans of X Factor at all. I said so explicitly. What i am criticising is the forced restrictions and the way that impacts on popular culture to an excessive degree. If X Factor was one of several programmes, some showcasing original talent, some showcasing the good mimics (a talent in itself) then we would have that level playing field you seem to want. People like the X Factor, fine, but would they not still like it if some of the songs were new songs? If some of the acts were hardcore or deep funk or psychedelic folk? I think they would, but the powers that be won’t allow them that imagination…
    Wouldn’t an X Factor with more range be at least as interesting possibly more so? Or an X Factor with a genuine alternative alongside it?
    Simon Cowell said he wouldn’t want 10 Bob Dylans, but wheres the difference intrinsically between that and 10 Take Thats? If its about the magnificence of popular song then why not have a Take That, A Paul Simon, an Aretha, a Springsteen, a New Zealand Story, a Jo Gillot, a Bob marley, a Michael Jackson, a Kinks all mixed in together? Is that not even more a celebration of the song and the singer?
    Come on, try to answer some of these questions Dave, you’re an intelligent man, adress the issues. Don’t hide behind the snob epithet… talk to me. Sell it to me.

  20. ‘Fame Academy’, nuff said, load of bollocks

  21. Well… this is actually all very interesting – in the sense of not being interesting at all…

    People are people and some people like different shit from other people – and ALL people will, to a greater or lesser extent be narrow minded and restrict themselves to their comfort zone no matter what you try and persuade them of – regardless of whether that comfort zone is trad folk, classic rock or altfolk or psychadelicbluesfunkfusion (I might have made that one up by the way – feel free to treat it as a new genre).

    All anyone can do is allow people to do what they do and be accepting of the panoply of music which the City of Lancaster consistently supplies

    …and if someone makes it out into the big wide world you can guarantee its because they put the work in somewhere along the line – whether from bugging the record labels and touring about the place or from auditioning for a talent contest…

    It definately won’t be because you kept turning up to their gigs. (that you was a generic one bytheway)

    And as for the X factor et al – well its not my bag but the massess will have their opiates and since most of them don’t do the religion thing these days I figure that TV is what they’re choking on

    Love Light and Peace Y’all
    xx

  22. for massess read ‘masses’ obv.

  23. Kevin!

    X Factor’s a game.

    Saying “why don’t they write songs?” etc, is like saying “why don’t they have 6 downs to make 15 yards. It’d totally help the flow of the game.”

    Okay, 20 overs in pajamas doesn’t feel like cricket and Golden Goal’s hardly an ideal way to resolve a footy match, but these kinds of decisions get made for reasons.

    Reasons govern all decisions of this kind, and I happen to have been engaging enthusiastically with these TV talent shows since Stars in Their Eyes featured a guy who wasn’t on the sex offender’s register, so I may be able to shed a little historical light on the affair.

    A key text in the history of the TV talent show is Fame Academy. Wes rightly points out that it was weak TV. It had nothing meaningful to offer the common man and even less for the muso.

    In essence, though, it attempted to be the kind of show you speak of. Contestants were encouraged to write their own songs, argue with the musical director like little divas, impress themselves on the world of music like proper artists.

    Fame Academy was a BBC production and, as such, had a self-righteous feel to it. It attempted to educate and hone the limited and disparate talents of its somewhat deluded contestants, and ultimately made nobody happy. The songs they wrote were shit. The performances of classic songs were stifled and wanky, largely because they were kids trying to do grown-up jobs like arrangement and orchestration. The whole game was also hard to judge and the voting system somewhat convoluted.

    The first X-Factor series was awful. It created some bad pop/easy listening acts such as Steve Brookstein and G4. These were bad, bad music, no doubt.

    Still, this was the proving ground for the format. Auditionees multiplied tenfold (with people going “what the fuck? I could do better than that!), real talent turned up and there was something worth watching.

    The track record beyond this, in terms of winners, has been flawless in my view. The lovable Shayne Ward, the impeccable Leona Lewis, cheeky chappie Leon Jackson and the holy fucking jesus this bitch can sing Alexandra Burke.

    The format is contentious, which adds conversational tension among its audience. Several weeks of embarrassing/beautiful auditions that feel somewhat exploitative at times (no doubt). A whittling process that’s deliberately hard and vicious (known as boot-camp) and finally, in the run up to Christmas there is no doubt that 12 or so genuinely strong pop acts prove their worth before a live studio audience until, every fucking year, a great singing talent is arrived at.

    That, to me, is absolutely doubtless.

    I’m not deluded about these people, though. Ask any of them to write a decent song and there’s basically no chance. I just don’t see why that’s relevant, though. We don’t shout at Ronnie O’Sullivan as he wanders away from the table in the Crucible “whatever, Ronnie, can you tile a roof!? Can yer fuck!”

    Songwriting is not essentially the domain of the singer. It’s wonderful when a great songwriter can sing. It’s wonderful when a great singer can write a song. Dolly Parton only has a couple of self-penned masterpieces. Dylan singing “You Raise Me Up” would suck balls.

    Thing is, as they discovered in Fame Academy… it’s not *normal* for people to be able to do that singer/songwriter thing. Great singer songwriters emerge in a different manner. X-Factor is a singer-generating machine, and in my view a damned good one.

    As you know, my primary motivation in music is the writing of songs. I’m 32. I’ve been doing it in earnest since I was about 15. 17 years later and I’m still thinking the songs I wrote four years ago are generally a bit shit.

    I regularly get very excited that I’ve written something I consider genuinely beautiful, only to find later that it *was* beautiful because I’ve heard it before. On a Postal Service album I didn’t remember listening to.

    The first song I wrote that I still think is worth playing is most likely Hey Boy, which features on a record I’ve only just shown to people. From 2003. I was 26. Far older than the 21 year old Alex Burke (20 at the time of winning X Factor).

    I’m not an idiot, I don’t think. It’s just that interesting songwriting takes focus and care. Being in a talent contest just isn’t the right environment for that.

    Essentially, what I’m saying is that songwriting’s a different game from singing. Singing is something people can immerse themselves in at more or less any age and with vigilance and dedication, practice and determination find their own powerful sound and style. It’s a far more level playing field.

    In short, Kevin, I’m suggesting you view X-Factor for what it is. A pageant. A talent show. For singers. Your concerns about the show’s limited scope seem to me similar to bemoaning the offside rule, 20 overs, pass interference or the backcourt violation. They’re just rules that have been added to the game to strike a balance between pure sport and spectator satisfaction.

    In the end, I believe in that balance. I don’t want to play the game. I want to watch it, and as a spectator I want a spectacle.

  24. I should point out for sports pedants everywhere that the pass interference rule has been in the game of American Football all along, but different versions of the rule have been tried. The current NFL interpretation of the PI rule massively discourages pass interference by heavily penalising the offending team, which can lead to more adventurous forward passing and a generally higher scoring and more exciting game for spectators.

  25. I cannot believe Dave just tried to make out that Leon Jackson is a good singer. And yay for the fact that Lancaster has just found a potential prestone. I can’t resist a good internet discussion.

    But Leon Jackson, come on. It nearly made me cry.

  26. As long as X Factor is kept out of my face I’m happy.
    I only wish to censor it for myself, not for others.
    Elitism in Lancasters arts? Hmm not sure I care.
    I know musicians of every hue in the CITY and at some time I have played with and listened to and encouraged all of them, becuase if they simply love music, they get my support, when I can be arsed to give it. Sometimes I’m just absorbed in my thing y’know?
    Everyone has the power within themselves to make something of their art. Some of the greatest artists ever, went through shit that makes our little struggles seem like a choice over which cheese to put on which cracker.
    My advice. Just do what you do. Built it, and they will come. Wear your heart and influences on your sleeve. Be honest, true, and follow your muse. MAKE YOUR ART. That IS enough.

    As for Lunecy Reviews role in all of this, may I quote Andy Warhol.
    “Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.”

  27. ‘man expresses opinion on internet’ I can’t see there being (as predicted) riots. People disagree, agree, fume, don’t care, rant, plug their own band…Lunecy Review gets more hits. What’s not to like?
    my name is Nigel, I write and play with ‘the low countries’. I have no beard and also run the Gregson open mic. Like Dave I’ve been writing/performing songs for years now, in several Cities, in several bands, in several countries, and generally been ignored in all of ’em. Am I shit? I don’t care. Lancaster’s no diffrerent. A tiny City, a smattering of musicians/songwriters, all doing their thing. Some hoping for more, struggling for recognition, others happy just to play. No geniuses. Please help:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Low-Countries/dp/B001GTCEKS/ref=cm_cmu_up_thanks_hdr

  28. All internet debates should have this image embedded in the header http://xkcd.com/386/

  29. Tres amuse. Mais, c’est politique. C’est la vie.

  30. awwww, I like this. I like that we’re all so passionate. “I was feeling alive” (you wait till you hear that on sunday Dave Wright with a glock solo in. Then you’re going to wish that you’d been hearing note perfect hotel california solos.)

  31. Funny Dave, I’d pick Dolly Parton as an excellent example of what i want from performers, yet you use her to try to justify your case. You see you missed a crucial; point again, that Dolly Parton may not write her songs (nor did Aretha Franklin or Billie Holliday or Frank Sinatra or in many insances Johnny Cash) but they did INTERPRET them, arrange them, mould them to suit their style. So the covers they do sound like originals: compare Aretha’s Respect to Otis Redding’s, Johnny Cash’s Hurt to Nine Inch Nails’ ) and X Factor would never allow that individuality that ‘X Factor’ ironically enough.
    But as you say people like it, so maybe being popular is what matters. So, the most successful currently active UK artists in terms of worldwide album sales include Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Deep Purple, Depeche Mode, Oasis, Black Sabbath with around 500 million combined album sales, which suggests people like waht they do… but what chance do you think anyone would have on X Factor covering Number Of The Beast or Personal Jesus? Nil points.
    You see as I keep saying and you keep ignoring, its not the people watching I have an issue with, its the way the marketing system based around charts and airplay rigs things so that one type of music gets preferential treatment and anything outwith that usually gets ignored. Its the way if Simon Cowell decides he likes you then your sales will rocket compared to your equally talented and enjoyable peer who Cowell ignores (or maybe never even gets to hear, which often means that nor do you or I?)
    So by all means enjoy X Factor, it has, as you say, showcased some talent, some comic moments and some carcrash moments, but don’t deny the rest of us a desire for more than just X Factor, or for X Factor to recognise there are a billion x factors not just one.

    To run with your sports analogy, a successful American Football team may win using long deep passes, or lots of short consistent passes, or powerful running back, and a few win on a superb defence or great Special Teams. Most combine all of these. X Factor expects it all to be the short passes to the Tight End every play, no sudden deep breaking passes, no barging run, no moments of individual genius that can’t be scripted. If Simon Cowell was coaching there would be no sweeps, no bootlegs, no play-action fakes, no eligible linemen downfield, no half-back options or fake field goals and every punt would be met with a fair catch rather than an exhilirating return.

  32. Jess: Dave Wright with a Glock? I’ll bring my Uzi!

  33. Dolly Parton has actually written hundreds of songs, and is a very successful songwriter indeed.

  34. SHIT, dont dis Dolly, she’s an AMAZING songwriter, has huge natural talent, and plays awesone banjo….

  35. What Dolly Parton not a songwriter????!!!!!!!!!! (sorry this needed punctuation in epic quantities)

  36. Hallo!

    Apropos of nothing – I have a (well-intentioned) suggestion.

    Since TLR is a collective of hard-working volunteers, (of which I am one) with their own minds and opinions might it not be a good idea to be extra careful that ‘thelunecyreview’ (as a respondent to threads) is not used to present an individual’s response, since it might give the impression that TLR has one stance across the board – thereby undercutting the ethos of diversity/ inclusion etc etc.

    To respond to topic, (argh! I don’t really want to) but if something is accused of being cliquey, it has two responses – to clam shut or open up further. I hope in this case, the latter happens. I am troubled by Dave’s observations, and it makes me want to hear him talk more not less. I’m still thinking it through, though, so I dunno. It’s hard to concentrate what with all this X Factor Mcgubbins!

    Hope all peops (whether they have a woolly jumpers or not.) have a great weekend!

    Moll X

    • Good suggestion MolL,

      Seeing as we all have differing opinions it would be better to go under our own identities rather than that of ‘The Lunecy Review’. Maybe I should put that as one of the ‘rules’ of the site?

      Back to topic, I do often feel slightly uncomftable going to local gigs (except to see people I know really well – IE – Ponies, EFTM). I don’t think its’ intentional but there is a slight incestousness/cliqueness in the ‘local scene’. Not often very open to getting to know ‘outsiders’. But that’s just my experiences, hopefully I can be proved wrong.
      🙂

    • I don’t want my words to trouble anyone Molly!

      I once had a snooker table. It was on a wallpaper table in my mum and dad’s garage. I had thousands of hours of fun using it for its correct purpose, but also spent many hours trying to correct its warped structure and uneven playing surface. Mainly by ranting at it. This changed nothing.

      While I both played and tinkered with gusto and passion, devoting my attention wholeheartedly, I don’t think I saw it as a serious matter.

      I am enthusiastic and forthright about what I see happening in music because I’m just that kind of a chap, but I’m not actually engaged on any kind of significant emotional level with it.

      It’s music I love, not the music scene. I’m glad that there are people who make far more effort than I could possibly muster towards making live music happen for people, but I’m not about to keep quiet about what I perceive might be the cumulative effect of any of these good natured acts.

      This discourse has resulted in a number of electronic and real life conversations with some lovely people I know (or have come to know through TLR) and I’m being educated as I go along. My view is changing constantly, as views should, and I’m not scared of the fact that my view ran as above on 21 Sept.

      As it stands, I still think there’s a bunch of guys in this town who have (in a very well meaning and good natured manner) taken it upon themselves to raise the profiles of a certain category of artist that appeals specifically to them, which skews the “scene” (that term’s not getting any less vile).

      I think the most salient point in this whole page was made by Wes. He’s a tremendous guy and a smashing friend. He’s also trying to turn the whole fucking town into hippy stoners by the looks of things by being in folk bands, putting on folky events and generally being “folk guy”. We have fun taking increasingly polarised positions on this matter and having a go at each other for it over drinks. (I have a bloody mary and a cigar, he has a nettle tea and a joint.)

      He rightly points out that if I want music events that are apolitical, irreverent, poppy, mindless and maybe a bit gritty, I should probably get off my arse and make it happen rather than sit around criticising him and his wooly liberal pals.

      To this end, I aim to make my (very) minor contribution to things by putting on two more single events called “These Are My Salad Days” by the end of the year. These are low-key events in which 5 or 6 local songwriters and groups are invited to play a mix of their own and classic pop songs that everyone knows. The highlight of these events so far, in my view, has been Idiot Johnson’s fantastic piano rendition of “Born To Run”. Add me on facebook if you’re reading this and want to be reminded when these happens.

      I know this won’t cause much of a ripple in the Alt-Ocean, but it’s a laugh.

      What we could do with is another “Feedback”.

      For those who don’t recall, the magnificent “Feedback” nights at the Farmer’s Arms were right up my street. They mixed the folky stuff in with some songwriter stuff and proper honest to goodness pop bands, providing something for everyone in a really sweet, friendly, eclectic, inclusive environment. It was also always rammed because lots of different kinds of people wanted to be there.

      That said, it took some doing. Creating a regular non-niche live music event takes the kind of person who just loves events, has tons of patience and dedication and doesn’t let their own tastes/politics get in the way of appealing to as many people as possible.

      Nobody is even trying (which is fair enough) to achieve the breadth of appeal FB had, and it gives the town the overall feel that “pop” is a dirty word. I miss those guys.😥

      • Feedback was ace. Best gig I attended was the non-folky gig Vialka, also the last feedback if I rembember. Missed King Creosote, Jeffery Lewis etc. But hey, history.

        I don’t smoke by the way.

        I think Feedback progressed naturally to LAWM which in essence has massively influenced lots of gig going musicians in Lancaster over the past four years, just acting as a catalyst and providing a stage for the alt-folky thing….Its a little boom, and it will probably fizzle out in time. We’re just rolling with it I suppose.

        I think Opposite of Robot will do some good stuff in the next year or so.

        Also, Greggy open mic, tonight, Lancaster songwriter theme.

      • Also, didn’t Catriona, Will, Chitty, Mikey, Morgan, etc etc all emerge through LULUM’s….what the FUCK has happened there? Lancaster gene pool is small, LULUM’s really needs to start being prominent again and inseminate.

      • one last thing, was sad when The Farmers was gutted to make the husk of a MacPub ‘Penny Bridge’ o well.

  37. I like making music that I like. What’s all this other stuff? Oh no….getting distracted by the other….must …….resist…aaaarrgghh……grnunnngggg….PHEW!!! made it out ….I think I’ll just go an make some music that I like. Ahh thats better. I’ve just remembered what matters to me.
    Bye bye baby.

  38. Also, by the way…

    “Dolly Parton only has a couple of self-penned masterpieces.”

    … is what I said.

  39. Hmm, though. A quick traipse through the wiki discography and it turns out she did write more of the rad songs than I had thought. Just not my favourite ones, which I guess gave me the impression that she’d written a bunch of shit to average songs and got successful on other people’s awesome ones.

    I stand corrected, Richard Turner!

  40. The English Tea

  41. “He’s also trying to turn the whole fucking town into hippy stoners by the looks of things by being in folk bands, putting on folky events and generally being “folk guy”

    trying turn the whole town into hippy stoners?

    anyone would think he just liked that kind of music

  42. It’s not all about music, of course. If civic pride’s your thing, it’s worth considering the national successes accrued by the city’s versifiers. Apologies to those I embarrass by naming and those I embarrass by omission.

    Pauline Keith, runner-up Bridport 2005
    Mike
    Barlow
    , Winner, National Poetry Competition, 2007
    Elizabeth
    Burns
    , Winner, Michael Marks pamphlet award, 2009

    That’s not to mention Ron Scowcroft, published recently in the Guardian or Kim Moore, published in everything.

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